By Terry Wiley
Wiley promises in the intro to this latest issue of VerityFair that this will be “the most boring issue yet” and that “if you’re waiting for more comedy drunkenness hang on for issue 4”.
I say ignore the artist, he’s just being as much of a drama queen as his leading lady, get the comic, read it and then re-read issues 1 & 2 to get the best out of this issue.
To summarise though, here’s what Wiley says about his title character:
“She’s a mess, a loudmouth, a waver of hands, a pain in the neck, a cack-handed, bath-singing, confabulating pest. …. She’s a freeloading scrounger, a terrible role-model, part of the problem, a ringing inditement of our broken society, a blight on Britain! She’s a tropper, a diamond, a flinger of fists in defence of the right of every red-blooded Englishwoman to stay in bed until 3pm and stare at the sky blowing bubbles and practise her lines.”
And here’s what I said:
“VerityFair is really shaping up to be something special. It’s got all the trademarks of a Terry Wiley comic – the great, strong female characters written believably, the wonderful, naturalistic and damned funny dialogue.
But there’s something more – there’s a steel in this one, a dark edge to it – all part of Wiley creating a character we can believe in. Verity may come across as riotously happy-go-lucky but we’ve already seen some of the problems she’s still to come to terms with. There’s obviously going to be more darkness uncovered over time and it’s this gradual dissection of a character that’s so intriguing about VerityFair. Add all of the funny stuff and the all too believable dialogue to the great characterisation and an all too human lead character and this really is proving to be a great comic from a great artist.”
(Verity’s psychoanalysis – the bill could come to thousands…. she’s one messed up woman. From Terry Wiley’s VerityFair #3)
Right then, into issue 3, where we find Verity talking to her shrink, trying to get to the bottom of these damn horrible nightmares she’s been suffering from. There’s an awful lot of messed up stuff in her head that’s for sure. And beneath the happy go lucky exterior? We may find something far, far darker.
Along the way we get a couple of little detours…. the present day and Verity’s appearing as herself and others in a Never Mind The Buzzcocks do you remember the D list pop star lineup. But weirdest of all we see a 1986 Verity hooking up with some bloke who may well just be the bard of Barking himself; one man and a guitar, far left leanings, mention of The Great Leap Forwards. Billy, what were you doing in ’86? Is it possible you might have been involved fleetingly with a made up character?
(1986, and a much younger Verity hooks up with a very familiar character….. Oove may well be getting dangerous, and I wonder if the guitar said sorry in the morning?)
And all the way through the issue there’s mention of her past, her school days….. and a very big link to Wiley’s excellent Surreal School Stories series.
No, it’s not available in print, but email him and he’ll send you over some digital copies if you ask nicely – well worth your time and money, especially as they’re proving to be a big part of the setup to VerityFair. But even if you don’t have copies, fear not, all you really need to know is what Wiley tells you about Verity’s school days here…. basically they were surreal, very, very surreal.
(Surreal School Stories makes an appearance in Verity Fair)
There’s not the immediate satisfaction in this issue that was delivered with issues 1 & 2, and like Wiley says in his intro, it’s the most boring of the issues so far. But like I said at the start, ignore Wiley’s protestations. What he calls (tongue in cheek) boring is actually a fascinating dive into a psyche, a look back at events that you just know, especially with the cliffhanger on that final page, are going to very important somewhere down the line.
I’ve no idea how many issues Wiley has planned for this series, and I do wish he’d manage to deliver more than an issue every six months or so, but I’ll be with him every step of the way, and so should you.
VerityFair is available from Terry at shows – the next one being Leeds Thought Bubble, but it will also be available from all the best comic shops soon after that. Terry is also taking orders through email/paypal: email@example.com; £2 plus postage for a black&white insides issue, £4+P&P for a colour insides.